CAFOD visitor from Kenya killed in car crash

Alice Atieno Ahenda

Alice Atieno Ahenda

A young Kenyan woman who worked with young people in the Westminster Diocese in the summer has been killed in a car accident.

Alice Ahenda, 28, a mother of three young children, was one of two special guests from Kenya invited by CAFOD to the Bright Lights Festival camp in July. She died in a road accident near Eldoret on November 18. Two people travelling with her were also killed. One other passenger survived the crash.

Alice was a talented sportswoman and captain of the netball team as well as “captain of captains” for the women's teams at St John's Sports Society in Korogocho, Nairobi. She travelled to the Westminster as part of a 20-day tour of the country to share her story and example of using sport for peace, reconciliation, empowerment and young leadership.

CAFOD staff in London, Kenya and Hexham & Newcastle, who worked with Alice, were stunned by the news. CAFOD Westminster  Diocesan Manager Tony Sheen said: “This has come as a great shock to all of us. Alice was an inspirational leader in her community. She was a lovely gentle person as well as a talented sportswoman. I know many young people in the diocese were touched by her story and example. I'm sure many of us have fond memories of Alice, which we will treasure. She will be sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”

Alice Atieno Ahenda was born in Korogocho the fourth largest slum in Nairobi and home to 120,000 people. Although she completed her high school education, she could not afford further education, so she joined a young people’s sports group at St. John’s Catholic Church in Korogocho.

In 2005, Alice helped launch the St. John Sports Society to support young people in the slum through sport. The Sports Society welcomes youth of all faiths to play football, netball, karate, tae-kwondo, athletics, volleyball, boxing, basketball, darts and weightlifting. Teams meet three days a week to play together, pray and talk to each other. Through the society, many young people have begun playing a role in transforming their own lives and the lives of others in Korogocho. The Sports Society is now a symbol of community mobilization and youth empowerment and has been supported by CAFOD since 2007.

Alice was elected captain of the netball team and chairperson of St. John Sports Society, a daunting task for a lady in a male-dominated society. In late 2008, she was elected secretary general of the sports society.  Her main challenge as a leader was convincing young people, especially girls, that they can transform their lives and serve their community.

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